The WiMax rival, Flash OFDM, could get a new boost, as the IEEE's 802.10 standards group has restarted with new procedures.
The IEEE 802.20 working group, which was suspended last year over allegations that Qualcomm was dominating the process, has been relaunched with a new rule: each organisation - including vendors, university research groups and other bodies - will have one vote, instead of the usual IEEE process, where members vote as individuals regardless of where they work.
In June 2006 it was found that the 802.20 chairman, Jerry Upton, had identified himself as an independent consultant but was paid by Qualcomm. Upton has since disclosed his work as a consultant for Qualcomm.
The latest move, made during a meeting of several IEEE standards bodies in San Francisco, came amid continuing concerns about domination of the group, 802.20 committee chairman Paul Nikolich said in a written statement. The change will help deliver a standard in a timely way, he said.
Worries about Qualcomm's influence seem to have continued. At a meeting in Montreal in May, some members of the group expressed concern that the company had two votes on the Editorial Group because both the chair and one member represented Qualcomm, according to the draft minutes of the meeting. The chair clarified that the chair was only to vote when needed to break a tie.
IEEE 802.20 is intended as a multi-megabit mobile data and voice system. Some of the technology that has played a role in it was developed by Flarion Technologies, which Qualcomm acquired in 2005.
With 3G mobile networks now going after the 1Mbit/s barrier, there is no shortage of potential rivals to IEEE 802.20, the main one being Mobile WiMax, defined in another IEEE group, Another mobile broadband standard, IEEE 802.16e is being adopted by many vendors and service providers under the WiMax name. One advantage of 802.20, proponents have said, is that it can be used in faster moving vehicles than can WiMax.